Monday, October 19, 2009

Doctor Strange- He's a REAL Doctor.

Comics are full of "Doctor"s. I sometimes wonder if there are more heroes and villains calling themselves "Doctor" or "Captain". Doctor Doom, Doctor Fate, Doctor Occult, Doctor Druid, Doctor Octopus, Doctor Midnight... you get the idea. But whereas most of these guys have PhD's, very few of them have an actual MD after their name.

Enter Doctor Stephen Strange, MD. who debuted in Strange Tales #110, although his origin wouldn't be revealed until Strange Tales #115. Dr. Strange was a brilliant and self-centered neurosurgeon whose hands were injured in an automobile accident. After trying every conventional means to restore his surgical talent, Strange undertakes a treacherous pilgrimage to the Far East, in search of a mystical hermit called the Ancient One.

After defeating the Ancient One's rogue disciple Baron Mordo, Strange becomes the Ancient One's new disciple, leaving surgery behind to become a Master of the Mystic Arts.

Doctor Strange has the power to leave his physical body to travel anywhere in the world, or even to other dimensions. He defends the Earth from mystical and trans dimensional invaders and has the enmity of several prominent demons.

Doctor Strange works as a mystical troubleshooter from his renovated brownstone in the Village where he lives with his manservant, Wong. I swear, I didn't make that up.

Steve Ditko, who was also the original Spider-Man artist, seems really at home drawing Doctor Strange. Psychedelic, mystical superheroes seem to have been right up his alley.


  1. Funny ... as a kid, I never quite "got" Dr. Strange. It seemed like too much genre-bleed, I guess, though I didn't think of it in those terms at the time. All I knew was that an actual honest-to-goodness "magic guy" didn't seem (to me) to fit into the same universe as Superheroes.

    I don't feel that way now, of course. In fact I'm very grateful for him and his ilk, if for no other reason than without them, there would have been no inspiration for Dr. Byron Orpheus!


  2. Yes, there could be no Doctor O without Dr. Strange. But as to "genre bleed", if you look at superheroes as a genre unto themselves instead of necessarily a branch of sci-fi, then made-up mystical powers are really no different from made up science powers. I mean, Earth's yellow sun lets a guy fly? Not much less plausible than a magic amulet.

  3. Oh, don't get me wrong - I agree with you as an adult. But as a kid, it just seemed weird to me. I mean stories of people from other planets, or with mutations or cool gadgetry seemed, to the younger me, to belong to a different world than magical powers or supernatural beings.

    Even the "powers from Earth's yellow Sun" while pseudo-scientific, at least felt like it belonged in the realm of scientific explanations. Once you start calling on demons, souls, ancient gods or what have you, that just sort of has a different feel. The plausibility factor wasn't really the issue for me. It just felt like they were mixing things that didn't go together.

    Sci-Fi and Fantasy, as genres, have never been all that well-defined to begin with - especially not from each other - but to my young mind, it was less like getting peanut butter on my chocolate, and more like getting chocolate in my plasma-induced polymerization ray.

    But, like I said, I'm well over that now. I'm quite happy to allow fictions of any stripe to pull from wherever/whenever/whatever the author's mind takes her or him to make for a compelling (or, at least entertaining) story.



  4. I personally don't care where he gets his powers, I just want to know where he gets his hair done.

  5. His hair?

    I'd like to meet his tailor! :D